Barefoot man given fellow rider’s shoes

Published in 24 Hours Vancouver | April 21, 2014 | Circulation: 280,000+ readers

Syndicated across QMI Agency newswire, including in Toronto Sun, Ottawa SunWinnipeg Sun, Calgary Sun, Canoe.ca, London Free PressSun News Network, Edmonton Examiner, Belleville Intelligencer

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A bus driver has had his faith in people restored after witnessing a rider wearing plastic bags instead of shoes given a surprising gift this holiday weekend — a stranger’s own shoes and socks.

The “soul-touching” interaction Saturday on the No. 341 route, according to Surjit Singh Virk, a Coast Mountain Bus Co. driver of 16 years who was off-duty at the time while returning from Surrey B.C.’s Vaisakhi parade.

“It made my heart melt,” he told QMI Agency. “He just took his shoes and socks off and said, ‘You can take these, don’t worry about me — I live close by and can walk.’

“People usually don’t care or even look at other people on the bus, they didn’t even want to sit beside this guy because of how he was dressed.”

Reached by phone, the giver of the shoes asked QMI Agency not to identify him because in his Islamic faith, charitable acts should be anonymous. He was also reluctant to have his photograph published.

“I felt bad for the guy,” the 27-year-old Surrey resident said. “He was wearing plastic hairnets on his feet. I was only about a two-minute walk from home, so I thought I could give him my shoes.”

The Good Samaritan was coming from a nearby B.C. Muslim Association mosque and association spokesman Mufti Aasim Rashid said the act would qualify as sadaqa, a general act of charity.

“Whenever we do a good deed, even if it’s to help someone out, the Islamic teachings maintain this should remain only for the pleasure of God,” he said. “It’s nice to see people practicing the teachings … it looks like he’s really benefited.”

Singh Virk said the recipient was “shocked” by the gift and afterwards remarked, “What a nice guy… Did that really happen?”

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